UK and France reach landmark deal to stop illegal Channel crossings | UK | News

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A “reinforced agreement” concluded today between the United Kingdom and France will strengthen operations to combat human trafficking. The doubling of the number of gendarmes patrolling a 150 km stretch of coastline from Tuesday is the latest attempt to prevent people from making the dangerous crossing in small boats.

The agreement between Interior Minister Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin will also see the deployment of surveillance technology.It is hoped that the use of drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras will mean officers will be in the right place at the right time.

The UK and France have also agreed on measures to provide adequate accommodation for migrants in France so that they do not fall into the hands of criminal gangs.

There will also be increased border security at ports in the north and west of France to prevent smuggling and stop people trying to illegally enter the UK in freight traffic.

The Interior Minister said: “Today’s agreement is an important moment for our two countries, strengthening our joint action to combat illegal migration.

“Thanks to more police patrols on French beaches and better information sharing between our security services and law enforcement, we are already seeing fewer migrants leaving French beaches.

“The actions we agreed today go further, doubling the number of police officers on the ground in France, increasing surveillance and introducing new cutting-edge technologies, which represents a new step in our common mission to make crossings completely unsustainable channels.

“In addition to these new operational plans, we will be introducing a new asylum system that is firm and fair, and I will present new legislation next year to fulfill this commitment. “

The Home Office reports that the proportion of intercepted and stopped crossings has risen from 41 percent last year to 60 percent in recent weeks.

British and French law enforcement agencies work closely together through the Joint Intelligence Cell (JIC).

Since its launch in July, it has helped secure around 140 arrests and stop around 1,100 level crossings.

The UK says migrants in accommodation centers can be supported and advised on how to seek asylum in a safe “third country”.

This year, Immigration Enforcement convicted 57 people of human trafficking with sentences totaling more than 138 years.

Forty-six people have been convicted of offenses relating to small boat crossings, with total sentences of more than 26 years.

For operational reasons, the number of agents who will patrol the French coast has not been disclosed.



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